Daniela Taplin Lundberg is the founder of Stay Gold Features, a production and financing company based in New York City. Her reputation as a fearless producer willing to take on edgy independent films has been honed by years in the field, and she counts acclaimed movies like Beasts of No Nation, The Kids Are Alright, and Patti Cake$ among her credits. Lundberg produced two of 2019’s buzziest films: Harriet, Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet Tubman biopic starring Cynthia Erivo, out November 1; and Honey Boy, Shia LaBeouf’s intensely personal biopic directed by Alma Har’el, which hits theaters November 8. This is what makes Lundberg feel powerful...
I feel most powerful when...
When I come prepared and am in charge. Right now, my production company, Stay Gold Features, has two films coming out, another in post-production, and another that’s shooting. I’m out raising my second film fund, and I am feeling powerful because I’ve worked hard and have stayed focused. I understand how to develop a script and run a set, and conversely, I know how to raise and structure film financing and get a healthy return to my investors. I make it my business to be fluent in both creatively producing and structuring financing, and I’m proud of that. And my team is badass and they all work as hard as I do. It has taken a long time to assemble and earn people’s trust, but it’s so empowering when you’re leading a group that has the same goals that you do. I have their backs, and they have mine.
What does power mean to you?
Doing the work. I find it’s actually easier to let my resume and what I’ve accomplished speak for itself rather than trying to make my voice heard in a crowded room.
What do you do when you feel powerless?
I put my head down and get back to work. When I feel powerless, it’s generally because I’ve become distracted by things that ultimately don’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. I want to tell important stories and impact as many hearts and minds as I can. I know I’m good at what I do, and I know I’m one of the few people taking the kind of financial and creative risks that I’m taking in my space. As an example, it was very hard to find financing for Honey Boy a year and a half ago. Shia LaBeouf was too controversial. I sat down with Shia and Alma Har'el, the film's director, and my other producing partners on the film and he said, “I won’t let you down, this story is too important.” My partner on the film, Anita Gou, and I believed in him when others didn’t.
What’s your power anthem?
Right now, it’s Cynthia Erivo singing “Stand Up” from Harriet. My team and I will be sitting in the office with hundreds of papers around us, feeling underwater, and then we’ll turn Cynthia on and get our mojo back.
Who’s your power icon?
Harriet Tubman, my best friends from college, the women’s national soccer team, my daughter Rosie, Donna Gigliotti, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Bryan Stevenson, my sisters, Caroline Kaplan, Teddy Roosevelt, Alma Har’el, Barack and Michelle Obama, my husband Ted, Riva Marker, Liz Banks, Debra Martin Chase, Greta Thunberg, Kasi Lemmons. My icons are good people who are trying to do good work and make the world a little better, and are not afraid to push boundaries.
What do you wear when you want to feel powerful?
When I feel powerful I don’t want to think about what I’m wearing. I want to be able to move comfortably and feel confident. It’s typically a combination of Common Projects sneakers with an Isabel Marant blazer and some chic pants or jeans. I have a friend who is trying to help me up my game a bit.